Midway through the 2015 Wally regatta season, newest contender, Open Season, is dominating on the race course. With Magic Carpet^3’s position as top dog being threatened, TSO speaks to her owner Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones about his expectations for the future, and when there will be a Magic Carpet^4.

Magic Carpet^3 at the 2015 PalmaVela regatta, with Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones at the helm. Credit: MM Sailingshots

TSO: What are your expectations for this season?

Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones:

I think it is going to be close because we are now being challenged by a new boat [Open Season] that has been lengthened and is now 10 feet longer than us and clearly that counts. In some conditions that makes it a faster boat than ours but we are clearly faster at accelerating because we are lighter, so with the ratings it is very close. Anyone who has tiny problem during the racing will feel the costs.

So apart from the actual regattas there is another regatta going on which is the both of us against the rest of the fleet. There are some very competitive with well-sailed boats like J1, which have a very good rating, that we have to be watchful of. And I know that boat very well because it was my first Magic Carpet.

It sounds like you have an exciting summer ahead…

Yes, it is very exciting; I think the boats get sailed better every year. There used to be a couple that were good and a couple were not so good, but now everybody has professional crews so anyone can win on their good day. You just have to try to be regular and at least somewhere at the top of the table.

I enjoy speed and the sensation of speed too much so if there is going to be another Magic Carpet, it will just be faster than this one, not bigger.

The superyacht regatta scene seems to be booming while maxi yacht regattas are struggling to find the numbers. Do you think the maxi yacht sector is being overshadowed?

We have been to a couple of the superyacht regattas and they are fun events. I am not sure that we would call them regattas but we call them fun events because, by our standards, the courses are not demanding enough. I think we like the excitement of all being together at the start and having the same start time, and having to avoid the other boats and so on. But I do know that in the superyacht regatta format the courses are becoming more demanding as the competition levels are increasing, so maybe at some point it will be indeed.

Will there be a Magic Carpet^4?

I think there will be, because the quest for speed and beauty is endless. The limiting factor for me, the rhythm, will depend on what technical innovations come out in the next ten years. There is no point in changing a boat if nobody knows how to do anything better or different than when you built this one. I waited nearly eight years before I built the last Magic Carpet because I couldn’t see anything anybody else was doing that was better. Then suddenly these new wider boats came out and they started bringing me figures that suggested we could go sail much better.

Right now I think we are pretty much on the leading edge but if I saw something that I thought really challenged us and could be adapted to a cruising boat I would be persuaded. As soon as I see a new racing boat out I am always looking at it and thinking, ‘I wonder if we could do a Wally version?’ So I am sure there will be another one but I don’t see myself building a superyacht. I enjoy speed and the sensation of speed too much so if there is going to be another Magic Carpet, it will just be faster than this one, not bigger.

Look out for issue 18 of The Superyacht Owner, which will feature an in depth look at Wally ownership and the evolving demands of the maxi yacht sector.

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